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Nutrition for the Breastfeeding Mom

Janel F.
JANEL F.
Registered Dietitian
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You know what they say, "You are what you eat." But, did you know that what's on your plate can also impact your supply? Join the conversation to learn more! Led by Janel Funk, Tinyhood Nutrition Expert, Registered Dietitian, and Food Blogger.

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JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Foods to avoid when nursing
JENNIFER, PARENT OF 21 MONTH OLD

Hello! I had my little one Dec 7th and am making the transition from pregnancy to breastfeeding momma. What foods are to be avoided while a mother is breastfeeding? Some foods discouraged during pregnancy can be had while breastfeeding and others seem to be discouraged for both times. Thanks for the clarification!

Janel
JANEL

Congrats on your brand new baby!! The good news is some of those foods (like sushi!) that were off limits during pregnancy are now free for you to enjoy. Also, there are actually no foods that every mom should avoid while breast feeding - it is really dependent on if your baby happens to be reacting to something in your breast milk, and it is an obvious reaction after each time you eat that specific food. Sure eating a big pot of bean chili or lots of broccoli and Brussels sprouts MAY cause gas in your baby, but it may not, and those foods are great to include in your diet to expose your baby to many different flavors in your diet - your breast milk flavor actually changes based on what you eat, and that flavor exposure is so great for baby! All babies have some degree of gas. Gassiness is often worse at night. This is due, on the most part, to baby’s immature digestive system and has nothing to do with what mom does or eats.

Regarding alcohol and caffeine, many organizations, including the AAP recommend no more than an occasional alcoholic drink while breastfeeding. Most breastfeeding mothers can drink caffeine in moderation. Some babies under 6 months may be more sensitive to mom's caffeine intake.

If you notice an overly gassy baby or that your baby is uncomfortable or having a reaction due to something in your diet, then it's time to take a closer look. But until then, no need to cut favorite foods out of your diet, and make sure to stay nourished and hydrated as you recover and nurse your little one!

JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Need help boosting supply
CAROL, PARENT OF 21 MONTH OLD

What foods can increase my milk supply?

Janel
JANEL

Some moms swear by certain foods to increase supply. While there is anecdotal evidence showing some of these might work, right now there is no scientific evidence backing these claims up. Some of the more popular foods that have helped many moms include whole oats, flax, barley, brewers yeast and lactation cookies (there are many recipes for these online!). But having a balanced diet with adequate calories and staying hydrated - think 13 8oz glasses of water every day - is the primary way your diet can impact supply.

JANEL ADDED A NEW COMMENT!
Food while pregnant
KATHLEEN, PARENT OF 20 MONTH OLD

Is it true my baby can actually taste the foods I'm eating while pregnant?

Janel
JANEL

It's true! This is called taste imprinting. Studies show that children prefer the flavors they experience early on, including while they're in the womb. A fetus in the second and third trimester has highly sensitive taste buds that, through "practice meals" of flavors in the amniotic fluid, get to experience whatever you're eating. Fetuses remember flavors from this time in the womb and tend to prefer them later in life. That doesn't necessarily mean your baby will only eat ice cream if that's what you've been craving during pregnancy, but rather encourages the need for a varied, balance diet during pregnancy not just for your own health but also for your baby's future taste preferences.